Cryptocurrency
Exchange

Estonia, a new European Crypto Market
Cryptocurrency Company in Estonia

Estonia is being considered as one of the mildest IT jurisdictions with the most favourable terms for obtaining a crypto currency exchange license for start-ups in the blockchain tech industry.

New crypto currency exchange and trading platforms appear every week and substantial part of them is being licensed in Estonia, as the whole process takes less time than in other jurisdictions.

Although many companies have opted for a Malta crypto exchange license, with the country having established itself as a prime fintech hub for more than a decade, Estonia is also a very popular choice from a technological perspective. Estonia has advanced at full speed, permitting foreigners to open companies remotely and access governmental services from a distance.

Our team of experts is there to help your project to pass all necessary procedures, prepare required documents and receive final permissions from the side of the authorities.

Reasons for Starting a Cryptocurrency Company in Estonia

It’s easy to see why Estonia has earned a reputation as being one of the most secure places in the world to invest in cryptocurrency and that having an Estonia crypto licence is a prestigious accolade. The country’s commercial legislation encourages investors to set up companies by providing the straightforward registration procedure described, together with a transparent taxation system.

With its enthusiastic market and government which supports cryptocurrency initiatives, Estonia is a big attraction to companies setting up business. As one of the European countries where cryptocurrency is strictly regulated, establishing a cryptocurrency company in Estonia is not only a safe option for your company, it also provides your clients with the reassurance that your company falls under the auspices of a world-renowned jurisdiction.

Legislation on Cryptocurrency in Estonia

In 2014, the Tax and Customs Board of Estonia published a document called Taxation of Trade in Bitcoins relating to bitcoins in Estonia which acknowledged bitcoin as a decentralised virtual currency. As a result, all persons and companies undertaking bitcoin transactions, have to be registered as providers of business services.

In 2017, the government of Estonia also updated the law relating to anti-money laundering, introducing improved regulations governing the operations of cryptocurrency companies. These include clearer definitions as to the use of cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency wallets, types of licences available and the obligation of obtaining authorisation from the Financial Intelligence Unit Estonia.

The new regulations imposed on cryptocurrency companies in Estonia do not impose any restrictions for these companies to operate outside the country although they do need to comply with the legislation in the country where they will offer their services.

Types of Cryptocurrency Licences

Companies wanting to apply for an Estonia cryptocurrency licence should be aware that there are two types of cryptocurrency licences that cryptocurrency companies can obtain.

A cryptocurrency exchange service provider licence allows a company to provide exchange services to those interested in trading cryptocurrencies against fiat currencies or other cryptocurrencies. A cryptocurrency wallet service provider licence, meanwhile, is issued to companies who wish to offer e-wallets or virtual token wallets.

Other kinds of cryptocurrency businesses, such as those involved in mining activities, can also be established in Estonia but unless they are involved in trading activities where a cryptocurrency broker licence is required, no special licence is necessary.

Key points for Cryptocurrency Company Structure

In order to successfully set up the cryptocurrency exchange and/or wallet service license an Estonian limited liability company has to be set up. This process can be carried out remotely with no visit required, it usually takes about 5 business days for the registry to process.

An application for either of the licences must then be filed with the Financial Supervisory Authority through the Financial Intelligence Unit Estonia, amongst the documents that need to be submitted are the company’s Certificate of Incorporation, together with KYC and risk assessment documentation.

The applications are reviewed by the Intelligence Unit which takes up to 30 days after which time, the company can commence its activities.


General Structure Information:

At least 1 shareholder (private person or corporate entity). No restrictions to citizenship or residence. For optimal setup structure please consult our legal team.

At least 1 director/management board member. Foreign residents are allowed, no restrictions to citizenship or residence. Can be same as shareholder.

No secretary nor local physical office required (only local registered office and registered agent – we hold the license to provide these services).

Beneficial owners’ details are disclosed to the authorities.

Taxation of cryptocurrency transactions in Estonia

Virtual currencies (e.g. Bitcoin and altcoins) exchange services are not subject to VAT. Services invoiced (e.g. sales invoices) in virtual currencies are subject to regular VAT rules.

Corporate profits are not taxed (CIT=0%) until the profits are distributed (as dividends).

Income tax 20% is charged on gross dividends (calculated as 20/80 of the net dividend). Special conditions apply for a 14% rate (for legal entities).

Expected Timeframe

It usually takes about two weeks for a cryptocurrency licence to be issued and it should be noted that a company must start its operations within 6 months of the date that the licence was issued.

In case you want to start a company remotely (without visiting Estonia) - it usually takes 2-3 weeks additional time and involves some additional costs.

Our Fintech Practice

Our lawyers and financial services specialists at ATRIUM LEGAL LAB provide solutions to clients by combining the traditional legal fabric with new technologies.

If you would like more information as to how to get a digital currency license, setting up of an ICO, a cryptocurrency exchange, or alternatively would like to set up a Crypto Fund in Estonia, we welcome you to get in touch with our specialists.

Should you have an enquiry
You would like to discuss with us
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